CHARACTER ABUSE

I am bringing attention to something which many writers have overlooked. But when you’re the reader or viewer having to face this problem, you know what I mean. It’s time we brought awareness to this epidemic I call: “Character Abuse!”

Words from a distraught fan who’s tired of great characters getting abused.
*my furious face*

Please, dear people. Allow a fan to spell it out for you:

No senseless deaths for loved characters.
If a great character is going to die, do it with a sense of purpose behind it, a goal in mind, something great resulting as the outcome of this awesome person’s death! Don’t just kill them and end the story there, please—I’m begging you!

It’s true, sadly.
Abuse can well up feelings and emotions inside readers/viewers, and this might be what the writer wants. If that’s their intention, it works. But as the writer, don’t let it go too far. You don’t want to destroy your readers or your fan base! A great character’s death can seriously do damage to a story, it may cause those fans who have lost their fav guy or gal to turn and walk away from the story completely! Be aware, writers. It’s a dangerous bet.

If you need to give your character a death, do so tastefully.
Now, I don’t mean one of those lame, cheesy and long drawn-out speeches or anything. You can be realistic with the death. But don’t leave it in a way so that it destroys your fans without giving them something to cling to afterwards. You’re sinking their “cruise ship ride,” so to speak, so hurry and toss them a life raft!

And please, enough with tossing in random characters just so you can kill them off later
—it’s so obvious to readers/viewers that that unimportant person is going to die. How many times have we seen that in films? Unless the intention is to be obvious about it and create a sense of humor where we know what’s going to happen, then it can work. But not if the story is trying to be serious.

Too much death is…well…too much death.
Unless you’re going for one of those exciting thrillers or horror type scenarios where the reader/viewer is supposed to expect a lot of people dying. But if the story is just trying to be dramatic and tragic, well…it can turn readers off. I know it tends to make me not care about the story anymore when sad and bad things keep happening over and over again. It can reach a point where it’s not believable to the reader/viewer anymore and makes no sense.

To sum it up: Characters are important.
Fellow writer, they are the very foundation and life-blood of your story! This goes for all media types. With something so important to your work, why wouldn’t you treasure it more? It’s your baby.

So please, be kind to your characters and treat them fairly.

(Brought to you by: The Character Abuse Foundation. No, not really)

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14 thoughts on “CHARACTER ABUSE

  1. I know exactly what you mean! Buh! People in our culture are so quick to add unneeded drama to a story. Having a huge, unexpected plot twist doesn’t necessarily (or hardly ever) indicate good writing. There are many more ways to make something unique – to use words that will stick with your reader – aside from randomly slaughtering innocent bystanders or plot pillars.

    People even chew Shakespeare out over this very issue! If /he/ gets in trouble for it, what makes us think /we/ can get away with it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jensine!
      Haha, I didn’t know Shakespeare got in trouble for this too XD But thinking about it, there was a lot of “character abuse” going on in his novels 🙂 A common theme for that era maybe? This is a new era though, no more “abuse” 🙂

      Like

  2. I see a lot of the opposite, too. The character is in danger, but then gets out of it because…main character! Or something awful happens, but instead of dealing with the repercussions, the author hand-waves it to make everything fine again. It’s easy to swing to either side of the spectrum.

    Liked by 1 person

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